There is a range of responses to an emergency. Some people see what needs to be done, and take action. Some people go into a funk and can do nothing for themselves. Most of us are in the middle. One argument made by Sensei M for karate practice is that it enables us to respond in the moment to emergencies.
There are differences. In kumite (pronounce kumité) we do not hit each other. The idea is that the fist reaches the gi and no further. Well, I do not want my eye blacked, certainly not repeatedly, and I do not want to black another’s eye. So the state of an actual fight is an experience I do not have- in it, I would want to do serious harm to an opponent, out of necessity.
Where a blow gets through the block, one is supposed to acknowledge that, with a bow.
Also, in kumite, we should not kick below the belt, while in fighting that is OK. As Sensei A says, the knee is designed to bend one way, and if you make it bend the other your assailant has a serious problem. Could I just do that to someone, again out of necessity? Practising kicks, I am supposed to keep my torso vertical, and so bringing my leg up to kick K’s side gives him sufficient warning to grab and hold on to my foot. K got me in a sweat on Monday. S says I should then hop in and hit him: if he is holding my foot his guard is down.
This brings me to my current work on accepting my feelings. If I see the opportunity and necessity of breaking someone’s leg, I am crippled by my current need to manage and control my feelings.
I build on that. Part is cognitive behavioural: I notice my feelings, rationalise about them, make a more rational perception, allow my emotional being to respond to that altered perception. I feel upset about something, I decide I “should” be grateful for my evolved emotional responses, which are so beautifully fitting- and I feel Gratitude. My anger fear and misery that I have this strong feeling reduces. I am practising this. I do it in my ritual space in full consciousness. I do it on the bus, slightly concerned that I might draw attention to myself- but then, others are absorbed in themselves, usually.
So. Breaking an assailant’s leg: I would accept the feeling of anger and fear, perceive and take the necessary action; rather than going into a funk, as I would in my previous state, so concerned to manage my emotions that I could rarely respond properly, using them.
Evolution by group selection is a theory that Dawkins disparages and EO Wilson advocates: here is a discussion. I can see that this need to control emotions might evolve: people who hold themselves back but obey orders are useful in a group, if only as helots. The group then succeeds and expands, enabling each member to pass on genes. Whatever the cause, it is something I have developed. I think my altruism and my need for human connection and my moral sense are sufficient to keep me as a creative and valuable member of society. My need to control my emotions does no-one any good, it just gets in the way.
A response to self-consciousness: someone is looking at me, I am Sufficient, I am Acceptable (rather than “normal”), I will carry on doing what I intended to do.